The Boston Herald’s Michael Graham listened to the speech and does not think it succeeded in persuading voters that there is not something more than a little peculiar about his choice of churches and that there is not a problem with his relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
As a former speechwriter myself, I was looking forward to Obamaâ€™s remarks yesterday because I couldnâ€™t for the life of me figure out how anyone could talk themselves out of Obamaâ€™s predicament. How does Obama – the Kumbaya Candidate – explain his 20 years at the Rev. Jeremiah Wrightâ€™s black power church? How does a uniter spend every Sunday in the pews where anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-American conspiracies and kookery are preached on a regular basis?
Itâ€™s like discovering that John McCain is a closet pacifist, or that Hillary Clinton is Rush Limbaughâ€™s Client No. 9.
Yesterday I got my answer. Blame everyone.
I knew we were in trouble when Obama compared the hapless but harmless Geraldine Ferraro with the Rev. Wright on the â€œracial insensitivityâ€ scale. And invoking the memory of the O.J. Simpson trial in a speech on racial unity left some of us wondering if the Tawana Brawley references were cut at the last minute.
Obama did say that some of Wrightâ€™s comments were â€œwrongâ€ and â€œdivisive.â€ He also admitted that he had in fact been in church for some comments that â€œcould be considered controversial – just as Iâ€™m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagree.â€
As a graduate of Oral Roberts University who grew up attending church five times a week – including tent revivals, healing services and the handling of less-than-friendly reptiles – I can honestly say that I never attended a service where the minister preached race hatred, anti-Israel paranoia or used the phrase â€œridinâ€™ dirtyâ€ in a theological context.
And other than Obama, I donâ€™t know anyone else who did, either.
Disagreeing with your pastor about transubstantiation is one thing. Debating whether government scientists are secretly trying to infect you with AIDS – that disagreement is a bit more profound.
At least it is for me.
Not Obama, who went out of his way to embrace the irrational Rev. Wright, saying, â€œI could no more disown him than I can disown the black community.â€
That says quite a bit about Obamaâ€™s opinion about the black community. Then again, Obama had very little positive to say about anyone in his â€œI have an excuseâ€ speech.
America is still a nation suffused with racism, Obama insisted. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition (Racists!). Politicians exploited fears of crime (Double racists!). Talk show hosts and conservative commentators unmasking bogus claims of racism (Super double extra racists!).
To paraphrase the Disney movie â€œThe Incredibles,â€ â€œIf everybodyâ€™s racist, then nobody is.â€
So determined was Obama to declare us all guilty by racial association, he even compared Wright to his own grandmother, â€œwho once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street.â€
Câ€™mon, Barack, do you have to pick on your own grandmother?